Bertha Bites the Dust (AGAIN!)


I was hoping that this web site would serve as a great tool for posting exciting observations and cool astrophotos that I imaged with my new camera. Bertha returned last year on the dubious day of September 11th, and has really worked well since her return. On Friday night I opened the dome and went about some visual observing of Saturn and other goodies. Shortly after telling Bertha to slew to a new location, the Autostar handset started blinking and beeping and I had to turn off the scope to reset it. This meant that lost my polar alignment and would have to realign the scope before continuing any GOTO activities.

Enjoying the clear sky, I decided to manually flip the scope over, pointing to Polaris, and began the process of alignment. After about 10 minutes or so, I slewed to Leo and wanted to observe the deep sky elements in that constellation. Slewing from one Messier object to the next, I was pleased that the scope brought each object into nearly the center of my 26mm eyepiece. I got lost in the sites of clusters and galaxies, and eventually started feeling the cold. I decided to call it a night and parked the scope. This time, however, instead of the scope slewing to the normal park position, it stopped halfway and was done. I had to turn off the scope, which meant for the second time that night I lost my alignment.

As you can imagine, I was beyond perturbed, and called Meade as soon as I could on Monday. After I explained the hundreds of hours lost in the past six months since her last repair, they agreed to service it again. Fortunately I still had the shipping boxes left from the last delivery, so off she went today. I just hope it doesn't take ANOTHER three months. There goes another Messier marathon down the drain. Better luck next year I guess.

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